Fall Issue, 2005
Fall Issue, 2005, September, 2005
Editor: Jeff Williamson
Officers: Joe Keel (president), Donna Miller (vice president), Sheri
Brothers (secretary and treasurer), Jeff Williamson (educational program
director and newsletter editor).
Board of Directors: Joe Keel, Donna Miller, Jerry Mixon, Tom Blackwood,
Tom Cobb, Jack Green, Paul Lyrene and Alto Straughn.
Disclaimer: The information in this newsletter was selected with good
intentions by the editor. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the
editor, the Florida Blueberry Growers' Association or the Association
Directors. The reader should not assume that the information presented in
the newsletter is being recommended for his or her farm. Especially where
pesticides or growth regulators are mentioned, be sure to follow their labels
exactly. If you have comments, corrections, or suggestions regarding the
newsletter, please write to the editor.
Fall Blueberry Short Course
Polk County Ag. Center
Building 1710 Stuart Center
1710 Hwy 17 South, Bartow, Fla.
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
5:00 p.m. Late (on-site) registration preregistrationn required for
5:30 p.m. Dinner Compliments of Mr. Ken Patterson, Island Grove Ag.
Products, and Mr. Ken Elixson, Elixson Wood Products, Inc. Both have
Editor- Jeff Williamson
Board of Directors
University of Florida
web sites listed in the Products and Services Section of this newsletter.
6:15 p.m. FBGA Business Meeting Mr. Joe Keel, FBGA president and
grower, Plant City, Fla.
6:30 p.m. Welcome Mr. Chris Oswalt, extension agent, Polk County
Extension Service, University of Florida, Bartow, Fla.
6:45 p.m. Current status and future trends of the blueberry industry: a
regional and international perspective Mr. Ken Patterson, IGAP, Island
7:10 p.m. Southern highbush blueberry varieties in Florida and
Australia Dr. Paul Lyrene, blueberry breeder, Horticultural Sciences
Dept., University of Florida, Gainesville.
7:30 p.m. Blueberry leaf disease identification and control Dr. Phil
Harmon, extension plant pathologist, Dept. of Plant Pathology, IFAS,
University of Florida, Gainesville.
7:50 p.m. -Dispersion behavior and injury caused by flower thrips in
early season blueberries Dr. Oscar Liburd, extension entomologist,
Dept. of Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, University of Florida,
8:10 p.m. Insurance for Florida blueberries Mr. Lenwood Hollister
and Mr. Fred Simmons, Carden and Associates, Winter Haven, Fla.,
8:25 p.m. Blueberry research update and comments on Dormex Dr.
Jeff Williamson, extension horticulturist, Horticultural Sciences Dept.,
University of Florida, Gainesville.
More Information About the Meeting
Admission to the meeting is free. However, FBGA will be accepting new
memberships and collecting membership dues from those who have not
paid for 2005.
Preregistration is required to receive a free dinner at the meeting. You may
register at the door, but meals are not guaranteed to those who do not
preregister. To receive a complimentary dinner, we must receive your
preregistration form by Monday, October 21.
Directions to the Short Course -
The program will be held at the W.H. Stuart Conference Center which is
next door to the Polk County Agricultural Center. If you are traveling north
on Hwy 17, the Conference Center will be on the right side of the road just
as you enter Bartow city limits. If you are traveling south on Hwy 17, it
will be on your left just before you leave the city limits. Look for the Polk
County Agricultural Center sign.
Your FBGA Membership
You can check the status of you membership by using the date printed on
your address label. If it is 2004 or less, then you will need to update your
membership dues. You may do this at the Fall Short Course, or mail you
membership check to the address provided at the back of this newsletter.
New Blueberry Book
Dr. Norm Childers, adjunct professor in our department at the University of
Florida, is editing a new book called The Blueberry. When completed, this
book will be the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of information
available on blueberries. While the emphasis will be on North American
production, blueberry industries in other countries will also be discussed.
Dr. Childers has almost finished his editing and hopefully we will be able
to take pre-orders for the book at the Fall Short Course.
Considerations for the Fall/Winter blueberry season
Jeffrey G. Williamson, Horticultural Sciences Dept., UF/IFAS
Dormex. Growers should soon decide whether or not they will use Dormex
and if so how much they will need. Information on placing Dormex orders
will be provided at the Fall Short Course. A discussion of use of Dormex
on Florida blueberries can be found at http://www.hos.ufl.edu/.
This is our departmental Web site. Click on "Extension". Then Click on
"Newsletters" and "Blueberry News". Look at the Winter 2002 issue under
the "Past Issues" category. Remember that Dormex is a restricted-use
pesticide and growers without a certified pesticide applicators license, or
without the proper application equipment, may want to make arrangements
to have Dormex custom applied by a certified applicator.
Pruning. Compared to many fruit crops, little is known about pruning
blueberries While most blueberry pruning in Florida is done after harvest
during the summer, some pruning may be useful during the dormant
season. Generally, the type of pruning done on blueberries during the
winter is called cane renewal pruning. It is based on the idea that individual
canes lose their vigor and become less productive as they age. Older canes
(5 to 6 years old or older) are removed from the base of the plants. Usually
no more than 2 or 3 old canes are removed from any one bush in any given
year. The bush responds by producing more new canes thereby keeping the
bush productive. Some crop load adjustment may also be needed during the
winter if flower bud set is heavy and for cultivars that tend to produce lots
of twiggy growth. This is an area where more research and experience is
Freeze protection. Virtually all early-season blueberry fields in Florida are
subject to late winter or early spring freezes. As we approach the end of the
hurricane season, its not too early to begin thinking about winterizing your
blueberry farm. I have reproduced a useful list activities below that was
taken from an article by Mike Mainland in the North Carolina Blueberry
News, Vol. 7, No. 1.
Reinstall suction lines and check primers.
Test and service the pumping unit, replace filters and have spare
Treat diesel tanks for water and algae.
Check lines and sprinklers in the field for leaks and clogged nozzles.
Check water pressure on ends of distant lines.
Make sure roadways around and through the field will withstand
traffic at night during irrigation.
Have a high-intensity spotlight ready to plug into the truck to check
Make sure drainage in and around fields is adequate.
Put shielded minimum thermometers in cold, average, and warm
areas of fields.
Hang some ribbons on trees or poles around fields to detect slight
Identify a good source of agricultural weather information and
watch it closely. Consider subscribing to a weather service that
issues freeze warnings.
Consider purchasing a monitor that calls you when the temperature
Consider purchasing a hand-held wind meter or anemometer to
measure wind speed.
Consider purchasing a sling psychrometer to measure wet bulb and
dry bulb temperatures, relative humidity, and dew point. An
excellent discussion of these terms and their importance in cold
protection can be found at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/CH054.
Have rain suits and boots available for everyone responsible for
checking the irrigation system.
Have wires available to unclog nozzles.
Have tools and replacement parts that are necessary to exchange
nozzles and/or sprinklers.
New blueberry cultivars from the University of Florida
Springhigh, Springwide and Abundance are southern highbush cultivars
that were recently released by the University of Florida and are suggested
for trial in areas where they are thought to be best adapted. Springhigh and
Abundance are expected to be best adapted in central and north Florida and
in other mild-winter areas where early season blueberries are grown.
Springwide is expected to be best adapted in central Florida and in other
very low-chill areas where early-season blueberries are produced.
Springhigh produces an upright, vigorous, bush that set numerous flower
buds in the fall and is capable of heavy flowering and fruit production. It
tends to bloom a few days before Millennia, Sapphire or Emerald, making
overhead irrigation important to protect flowers and young fruit from
freezes. Leafing is usually adequate but may be improved, especially in
central Florida, with Dormex. The berries of Sprinhigh are as large or
larger than berries of Emerald and Jewel, and Springhigh has consistently
ripened fruit before Emerald, Jewel, Millennia and Windsor in north-
central Florida. Berry firmness, scar and flavor are good but not
exceptional. Berries are somewhat dark but are not darker than Duke and
color is acceptable for an early season berry.
Abundance was so named because, under good growing conditions, it has
the potential to set and produce large crops. The main advantage of
Abundance is its very high vigor and yield potential. Fruit do not ripen as
early as fruit of some other cultivars. In north-central Florida, berries start
ripening about 3 days after Star. Abundance berries are large, about the
size of Star, Emerald and Jewel. Berry quality is good and hand harvesting
is relatively easy.
Springwide is a new low-chill southern highbush blueberry variety being
released by the University of Florida. It is intended for early-season
production of blueberries for the fresh market in central Florida or in other
very low-chill areas where early season blueberries are produced.
Springwide got its name because it ripens early in the spring and has a
somewhat spreading bush habit. Springwide berries ripen early. During the
4-year period 1999 through 2002, Springwide averaged 50% ripe at
Windsor about 5 days before Star, Windsor, Millennia, Emerald, and
Jewel. Berry size for Springwide is large; about like Star. Berry firmness,
flavor and picking scar are excellent. Berry color is medium, about like
Sharpblue and Windsor. Yield of Springwide is expected to be medium.
All three cultivars root readily from softwood cuttings and grow well in
nurseries. Springhigh, Springwide and Abundance are patented cultivars
and require propagation licenses. For information on obtaining licenses to
propagate these cultivars, contact the Florida Foundation Seed Producers,
Inc., P.O. Box 309, Greenwood, FL 32443. Phone (850) 594-4721.
Blueberry Products and Services
A-1 plants! The Doc's Blueberry Nursery. Since 1988, quality Southern
Highbush plants at competitive prices. Winter Haven, central Florida. (863)
325-8215. Popular commercial varieties available as liners or 1 gal pots.
Call Dave Weber for price and availability. Lic No 47219637.
Bob's Blueberry Farm and Nursery. West Pasco County. (727)863-4214
or toll free (888) 654-4214 Year around plant sales, southern highbush
blueberry plants, all sizes and varieties, over 40,000 on hand. Call for
prices and availability. Plan ahead, have the plants you need when you
need them. Lic. no. 47227344.
Elixson Wood Products, Inc. Pine bark shredded, nuggets, or fines
available. Ph (904) 964-6649.
Far Reach Ranch. Blueberry plants for sale. 30 miles North of Orlando.
Jewel, Emerald, Star liners and 1 gal. Call Jerry (352) 516-7428. Lic. No.
Honey Bees for Blueberry Pollination. We use the Buckfast strain, which
pollinates at temperatures 20 cooler than other strains. Bees guaranteed for
strength. $35.00 per hive. Call Robbie Bell home (863) 285-7785; mobile
Island Grove Ag Products. Don't buy plants until you've talked with us.
We have all varieties including new releases from U of F. We grow
specifically for your needs. Lic. no. 47217870. Sheri Brothers at (352) 481-
5558 or email@example.com
Jacto Sprayers/Henry Mitchem Equip. Save time and chemical costs
with a Jacto Airblast Sprayer. Jacto is the number one sprayer in the
blueberry and nursery industries and has proven itself in helping
productivity. For more information or a demonstration, call Kenny
Mitchem at (352) 787-4109, Leesburg FL.
Miller Blueberry Nursery. 140 Stokes Landing Rd., Palatka, FL 32177,
Telephone (386) 325-7373. Let us supply your blueberry plants. All
varieties. All sizes. Bare root and potted. Please call for prices. Lic. no.
Mixon Family Farm, Inc. We have excellent quality blueberry plants for
sale. We sell Bare Root or Rooted Cuttings and we have the newest
releases form the University of Florida. Call Jerry Mixon (863) 439-8335
for price and availability. License no. 472255191.
We welcome advertising from blueberry nurseries and suppliers. The cost
is 30 cents per word per issue of the newsletter in which your message
appears. Send your blueberry-related message and a check payable to
FLORIDA BLUEBERRY GROWERS' ASSOCIATION to our address
given below under membership information. Advertisements and claims
therein to do not constitute an endorsement by the Florida Blueberry
Growers' Association or the University of Florida.
To join or renew your membership to the Florida Blueberry Growers
Association, mail a check payable to FLORIDA BLUEBERRY
GROWERS' ASSOCIATION to our address:
Florida Blueberry Growers' Association
P.O. Box 163
Island Grove, FL 32654
The Association annual dues depend on which membership category
you fit best.
1. Regular Florida Member $10.00 per acre of blueberries, except a
minimum of $50.00 and a maximum of $200.00.
2. Out-of-state member $50.00
3. Associate member $100.00 (Equipment and chemical companies, etc.)
4. Educational and Research $10.00 (University and USDA personnel
who do not grow blueberries commercially)
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